With a population of 31 million Peru is the fifth most populous country of South America and has one of the best performing economies in the continent. The country has 3,080 km of coastline, bordering Ecuador in the north and Chile in the south, and 12,000 lakes and lagoons. The seafood sector is important for Peru’s economy as it is the highest source of foreign income after mining products. Peru has the world’s largest anchovy fishery which upholds the country’s fish meal industry. Compared to neighbouring countries, Peru’s aquaculture sector is still underdeveloped and only contributes 2% to the revenues of the total seafood sector. Nevertheless, the environmental settings are favourable and the sector is growing. With the 2016 General Law on Aquaculture, the government stimulates, guides and regulates the further sustainable development of the sector. Aquaculture is practised in all regions of Peru, with shrimp and scallop farming along the coast, trout farming in the highlands, and tilapia and Amazon fish (paiche) farming in the lakes and rivers of the Amazon jungle.  

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Species in Peru

Click on the species and find out more about the species in Peru

Peru's seafood sector

The Peruvian fishing, aquaculture and subsequent processing sector are an important source of foreign income and employment. Total fishery and aquaculture production reached 3.9 million metric tons (MT) in 2016. The Peruvian marine fishery is the most important sector, with production figures over 3.8 million MT in 2016, of which 75% was anchovy. The inland fishery contributed just 0.6% to the total wild capture production, producing 22,091 tonnes. Marine aquaculture is mainly composed of shrimp and scallop farming, and produced 100,187 MT. Total freshwater culture of trout, tilapia and paiche (Amazon fish) accounted for 58,767 MT. Seafood production and processing contribute 1-1.5% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). One third of this contribution comes from the fishmeal and fish oil industry that is closely linked to the anchovy fishery, which is Peru’s main fish export commodity. Peru has approximately 18,211 vessels operating in the Pacific Ocean, of which 90% are artisanal. The Peruvian fishery sector employs around 211,000 thousand people, through direct and indirect jobs (ANDINA, 2014). Most employment is found in industrial fishing and processing. Aquaculture generated 102,000 thousand direct and indirect jobs in 2015 and an increase of 30% is expected by 2021 (ANDINA, 2016). Domestic consumption of seafood products is estimated to be respectively 16.2 kg/head/year, depending on the region (El Commercio, 2016).

Fisheries and aquaculture production

Source: FAO (2018)

Marine fishery landings form the largest share of Peru's fisheries production. Anchovy are the dominant species caught, with catch volumes reaching 2.8 million tons in 2016. Most of the fluctuation in fishery production is a result of El Niño effects on the anchovy stock, which in combination with overfishing, has led to decreased productivity.

Anchovy availability had reached critical low levels in 2016 (Undercurrent News, 2016). To limit anchovy overfishing, the Peruvian government has installed catch quota. For example, the government set a quota in the center-north area at 2.8 million metric tons for the first anchovy fishing season of 2017 (Undercurrent News, 2017). Also in other parts of the marine fisheries sector the government is increasing efforts to make the industry more sustainable. In 2017, the government for example announced a partnership with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and various industry players to move the squid sector towards MSC certification. With support of a 40 mln US$ loan, from 2017, the government will support the industrial and artisanal fisheries sectors to divert pressure from the anchovy fishery such as development of aquaculture and focus on other marine species which are less over fished. The inland fishery, situated in the Amazon jungle, shows a decreasing trend over the last five years and remains underdeveloped.

The Peruvian aquaculture sector is relatively young and its share to the total country seafood production is low. Nevertheless, the government is putting emphasis on increasing sustainable aquaculture production and reducing the dependency on capture fisheries by adopting national programs and laws like the General Law on Aquaculture. The Peruvian government is therefore eager to attract foreign investors to help develop and innovate their aquaculture sector. Importers of sustainable aquaculture products should keep an eye on Peru as the production of species such as trout and Amazon fish are likely to increase in the coming years. Peru, therefore, is expected to become an increasingly competitive source for sustainable aquaculture products.

Production per species in 2015 (tonnes)

Source: FAO (2018)

Wild marine fish, predominantly anchovy, take up 75% of marine wild capture production. As anchovy is heavily influenced by El Niño effects, wild capture production figures tend to fluctuate a lot over the years. Besides anchovy, other important wild marine fish species are Chilean jack and Pacific chub mackerel and common dolphin fish. Giant jumbo

squid composes 88% of wild mollusks production. The most important cultured mollusks, diadromous fish and crustaceans are Peruvian calico scallop, rainbow trout and Litopenaeus vannamei shrimp although their share to Peru’s seafood production is currently only 2.6%. This share is expected to increase in the coming years.

Export markets

Source: Trade Map (2018), International Trade Centre,

The figure shown above represents the export value of seafood products including value-added, but does not include exports of fish meal or fish oil. To get an impression of this latter market, the value of fish meal exports reached 1.47 billion US$ in 2017 and was primarily exported to China (80%). Peru enjoys a

Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with both the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) who, together with China, take account for 64% of Peru's seafood export value in 2017. In 2016, South Korea replaced China as third largest importer, but China took back its place in 2017. The export markets of the EU, US, China and South Korea have been fluctuating over the years, with differences ranging from 2 to 120 million US$. In 2015 and 2016 overall exports decreased in , but export value picked up again in 2017. With the FTA between Peru and the EU it is increasingly interesting for European importers to invest in Peru as a source of sustainable aquaculture products such as shrimp, scallop, and trout, but also Amazon species like paiche and pacu.

Spain, France and Italy are responsible for two thirds of EU imports, who mostly import squid, scallops and frozen shrimp. The United States predominantly import frozen shrimp and fish fillets, while South Korea and China mainly import prepared and preserved squid. Other important export markets are Japan, Thailand and Canada.

Export products in 2018 (000 US$)

Source: Trade Map (2018), International Trade Centre,

Peruvian export products of seafood are diverse. Export values reached over 1.03 billion US$ in 2017, which is an increase in export value of more than 10 million US$. Squid, scallops and octopus (molluscs), prepared or preserved squid, frozen shrimp

(crustaceans) and fish fillets take up the bulk of the exported products. According to the EU list, there were 197 EU certified processing facilities, of which 59 process aquaculture products. However, according to local sector associations the number of active establishments is likely to be much lower. Also, the EU processing establishment does not include merchant exporters who have an export license and contract manufacture their products instead of having their own processing facilities. From data received from ADEX shows that 321 companies were engaged in exporting fishery and aquaculture products in 2016, of which 50 companies accounted for 82% of the total export in terms of net weight. Although most aquaculture companies are owned locally, in fisheries, there is quite some foreign investment from China, Japan and other fishing nations who have interest to secure raw materials from Peru.

As virtually all anchovy are used for fish meal and fish oil production and a small share is consumed domestically, anchovy can be hardly found back in seafood export products. Prepared and preserved anchovy contributed 3% to the total export value in 2017.


Last updated: 01/10/2018

  • Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)

    Species Number of Farms Total Volume (MT)
    Scallop 12 1,928
  • Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP)

    Species Number of Farms Total Volume (MT)
    Shrimp 2 NA
    Trout 3 NA

Trade and Investment regulations

Peru ranks 54 out of 190 on the World Banks Doing Business Index in 2017. Since the liberal economic reforms in 1990, Peru has benefitted from foreign investments in mining and manufacturing which have boosted the nation’s economy. Its improvements in economic governance and political stability, together with economic modernization and natural resource abundance, are making Peru one of the most stable economies in Latin America (Focus Economics, 2017a). Business confidence recently reached record heights in 2016, portraying the business sector positive attitude towards the appointment of Peru’s new President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and his reformed cabinet in 2016. The devastating floods in February and March 2017 decreased this sentiment, but the business sector is recovering from the natural disasters (Focus Economics, 2017b). This section will provide you with all up to date need to know information about trading and investing in seafood in Peru. The following topics are covered: click the links below to learn more!

  1. GSP facilities and Free Trade Agreements
  2. Setting up a representative or branch (service company) office
  3. FDI regulations and setting up a subsidiary company
  4. Taxes and duties
  5. Custom procedures
  6. Arbitration law
  7. Cultural do’s and don’ts

Sector support programs

  • Aquaculture Peru

    As a part of the CBI's integrated country program, Aquaculture Peru aims to help exporters of aquaculture products to find business opportunities in the European Union. The main focus is on the species shrimp, trout and paiche. The program offers coaching and training to individual companies to find good markets for their higher value products. In addition, they want to strengthen Peru's aquaculture sector as a whole.

    Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI)
  • National Program for Fishery and Aquaculture

    This program is aimed to strengthen Peru's capacity, innovating fisheries and aquaculture value chains. The project consists of four component: 1) promoting innovations in the sub-sector, 2) promoting innovation in the aquaculture sub-sector, 3) strengthening the Sistema Nacional de Innovación en Pesca y Acuicultura (SNIPA), institutions, and policies to improve governance of fisheries and aquaculture, 4) project management to strengthen the institutional and organizational capacity of the Vice Ministry of Fisheries.

    Peruvian government and World Bank